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How a Predatory Film Distributor Screwed Over a Filmmaker with Terminal Cancer
Running Indie Film Hustle I hear story after story about predatory film distributors screwing over, taking advantage, and just plain stealing from filmmakers every day. I either get emails or read about them in our Facebook Group Community: Protect Yourself From Predatory Film Distributors/Aggregators.
I’m so sick and tired of this. These parasites need a light shined on them. The only way we as filmmakers can stop these predators from continuing to hurt filmmakers and devastate lives is to make their actions known. Predatory film distributors continue to screw filmmakers because their actions are performed in the shadows. They bank on that filmmakers will not fight back, that they will keep quiet and just take it. Well, ladies and gentlemen that ends here.
I broke the Distribber story around the same time last year. They were able to take advantage of filmmakers for a long time until someone finally brought their actions to the surface. That is the only weapon we as filmmakers have against predatory film distributors. Our Facebook group has helped thousands of filmmakers not get taken advantage of. I know that the podcasts and videos I put out have helped as well but it’s not enough. I’m only one voice.
We as a community need to stand up and demand change. The traditional film distribution system is BROKEN. I was just consulting with a filmmaker yesterday that told me that he too was screwed over by a film distributor. This distributor told him on the phone, once he confronted him about the theft of his film, and I quote,
“I’ll see you in the court of who gives a f**k.”
This distributor was in the UK and the filmmaker was in the US. The distributor knew that the chances of the filmmaker taking him to court in another country were slim to none. The filmmaker’s lawyer advised him to let it go because the cost would be too much. THIS CRAP NEEDS TO STOP.
Then I came across a video on YouTube of Michael Daniel, a filmmaker telling his story about how Michael Cowan of Phoenix Worldwide Entertainment screwed him over and never paid him the money he was owed. Oh by the way this filmmaker also has stage 4 cancer. This is the video I saw that moved me to reach out to Micahel.
He told me that this film distributor was literally waiting around for him to DIE so he wouldn’t have to pay him. Jesus Christ! I mean I thought I had heard it all but man this is a new low, even for predatory film distributors. Micahel has been fighting this fight by himself for over 18 months. He felt alone. No one would help him. If fighting terminal cancer is enough, he has had to deal with this situation as well. It’s just not right.
I knew I had to help and shine a light on this situation. So I invited him to the show and asked him to write, in his own words, his story and add proof in the article.
You can read his piece below.
I did my own research on Michael Cowan of Phoenix Worldwide Entertainment and discovered that this is not the first time he has been in the press regarding suspicious actions in the film financing/distribution world. According to the Mirror UK, Mr. Cowan was accused of raising money for a film called Mary Mother of Christ using Oscar® winning producer/director Mel Gibson‘s name but the rub is Mr. Gibson had never heard of the project.
This is not the first time Mr. Cowan had been accused of doing this. He had also raised money from the public for a film called Henry 5 that would have supposedly starred George Cloney, Matt Damon, Tom Hardy, Albert Finney, William H Macy, Sacha Baron Cohen, Micahel Caine, Gerard Depardieu, and Ray Winstone. All the actor’s agents said their clients had nothing to do with the project.
Stealth Media Group, the finance and international sales company founded by Michael Cowan and Jason Piette, was also accused of doing the same thing using John Travolta‘s name for a film called Gummy Bears. Again Mr. Travolta had no involvement in the project.
After digging some more I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of scandals and accusations that Mr. Cowan had against him and his companies. You can read about each accusation below:
- Michael Cowman/Mel Gibson Movie Fund Story
- Stealth Media Group – Tom Hardy and Sacha Baron Cohen NOT involved in Film Financing Scandal
- Michael Caine was Never Attached to Henry V
- Michael Cowman/Michael Caine Movie Fund Story
- Michael Cowman/John Travolta Movie Fund Story
- Warlords Production Liquated after Putting Money In Sales Rep Pockets
- High Court freezes UK film producer’s retirement fund
- Cruel drama for investors in Shakespeare film fund
- Warlord films boss banned over investment scam
- Film producer whose company raised £5 million from investors disqualified
- Brighton film producer banned from being a director over £5m scam
- 500 investors call in police over missing £10m in Hollywood A-listers film scandal
- I invested in a film called Henry 5 and have been told the investment was taken over by a different firm. Have I been scammed?
This kind of crap needs to stop. Michael Daniel is a filmmaker who has struggled to follow his filmmaking dream and did all the right things and yet he’s in this sad and horrible situation. THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. If predatory film distributors can continue to get away with screwing film producers over the system needs to change.
Both Michael and I are hoping this can help future filmmakers from making the same mistakes. I personally want to thank Michael for coming forward and sharing his story with the world. It takes a brave soul to do what he is doing. He’s not only fighting cancer but he is also fighting to get his film back and receive the money he is legally owed.
This episode is brutal and painful to listen to but I believe it will help countless filmmakers. Stay strong Michael, you are no longer alone. Enjoy my conversation with filmmaker and fighter Michael Daniel.
UPDATE: The Daily Mirror UK just published an in-depth article on Michael’s case: Click Here to Read
The Get Gone Story in Michael Daniel Own Words
First, thank you to all the people that made every step in the journey to my having a film complete and released a possibility or even who assisted at some point in my life, or believed in me for something at any time or who helped me ever. I really do appreciate you all and if I still owe you, we’ll get there.
On that note, I’d like to say that I personally am not looking for any personal gain or money, as this debt owed doesn’t belong, nor is it owed to me personally, yet I AM the producer, I AM the director, I AM the….well, all that, so I AM responsible for the good and bad, in the film and in this fight.
Now… I am super grateful life brought all the cast & crew for GET GONE into my world. All stellar people, all of whom I appreciate for their time, effort, and sacrifice, to help me make my dream come true, they are all Golden Gods and this is also about standing up for what they worked for.
Above all, thank you to Joseph Shelley AKA ‘Shrek’., my friend and executive producer on GET GONE. Joe is a Navy man and not a movie man really, he’ll be the first to tell you that. He is a good-hearted person who wants to help people. He welcomes complete strangers into his home or to camp in his yard and has done so for years. That’s the kind of human he is.
Truth is, other than being a self-taught man, I also am not a ‘college/ film school guy’. I love movies, always have, love stories, always have written, and loved reading, so it just made sense to learn it on my own. I’m far from perfect, hopefully, next time I’ll be closer.
Joe is a long time friend that reached out to me after seeing I would place in script contests (Semi-Finalist Nicholls Fellowship “Circle In The Water” Civil Rights drama) and works to get things out there.
I’d be an extra in a film, make a short film or write one, or sell one, or get hired to write a script, or be on a game show or two, make some hiking documentaries and other victories and never quite get someone behind a larger movie on the financial scale needed to at least try. That isn’t to take away from all the amazing people involved in any other projects throughout my life, those people too, are loved. Especially my hiking and outdoor film work, DM Burrows you da’ man.
WALKING WITH FREEDOM: A Hike On The Appalachian Trail
Then as I progressed, I was writing or taking part in projects for years and always getting JUST THIS CLOSE to some major signing or sell or something awesome actually materializing — then….as it happens in life occurs, the opportunity dies and we move onward and keep trying anyway.
Joe saw what I did and how hard I worked with nothing — living in poverty and STILL dedicated to working on projects — and still was able to make it work and he believed in me as a friend and writer. Joe had access to funds and wanted to make a movie and wanted to help me achieve a dream by allowing me to write and direct it.
Well, hell yeah. God, yes! Thank you, please, yes!
Words of gratitude, gifts, whatever… nothing in the world can say how much I appreciate Joe for putting that trust into this film. That is exactly why I am fighting so hard for only the right thing to be done. I moved to Cascade Locks, Oregan, and began prepping to make a movie.
I’m not looking for extra perks. No favors. No personal payoff. What I want is for Joe, and a few others to be paid back. Me last. I’m dying so it won’t matter to me if I see another penny at this point. Sure, maybe I’ll luck out and live another 20 years, it’s just unlikely.
Still, wouldn’t mind my Chevy Colorado back, that was a great truck. I am doing better than I was last year at this time when just after sending Phoenix Worldwide Entertainment (UK) The USB drive with deliverables in June 2019 to Pinewood Studios in the UK.
I thought, well that will take a couple of weeks, so I’ll take a ‘Post Edit Its-In-The-Can’ -hike stating at Mount Hood Oregon and hike south on the Pacific Crest Trail to Ashland where I would rent a car and drive to Las Vegas, where GET GONE had just been announced as a Festival pick for AOF.
So I was feeling grand. Not grand exactly.
My friend and editor Erich can attest, I knew something was wrong physically in the last week or so as we edited. I actually said;
“I think I’m dying man.”
At that point, I thought it was a bad Spring flu. The sickness made my mood all over the place and my temper was shot. I was stressed all due to cancer I didn’t know existed inside me and at that time, I put the blame firmly on my own worry and stress over making sure GET GONE was as good as we could get it before sending it out. I made a joke on set to my 1st AD Chris when my pain got so bad it was obvious to them;
“If I get a tumor I’m naming it after …..”
Part of the stress was that we had missing scenes and no money to film them, we had to replace one of the main actors halfway through shooting and have it appear to be the same person, we didn’t get all the shots, had to return almost a month later to finish filming in June of 2018, and STILL didn’t film the ending I wrote due to time and money. Mainly money. Totally Money.
And next time, I won’t film in summer for a NIGHT film— Anyway…
This takes us back in time a bit, 2018, November, American Film Market! The beautiful beaches of Santa Monica California, whiskey, films, and money. The Lowes Hotel is floor after floor of bright-eyed indie producers who mingle with low-level sharks with no morals.
Then higher up, for the right price, you take can a chance on actually sitting down and having meetings with all levels of distributors with good intentions who have to deal with some sales agents who are not always on the up and up, or the very same sharks you meet in the basement. They are all here. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s fast-paced. It’s a good time.
I meet with people and had offers for GET GONE from Gravitas, IAN, ACORT, (Lebowski) “The Dude”s company, and a couple more. Then I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. A $100,000 minimum guarantee offer on Universal Rights for distribution and sale from Emanuel Moretti, Michael Cowan, and Robbie Moffat of Phoenix Worldwide Entertainment.
That deal means that no other distributor or sales agent could move or sell my movie to ANY territory anywhere in the world. Exclusive sales went to Phoenix and they would have the right to act as sales agent and distributor as it saw fit and after they were paid back for the MG (Minimum Guarantee) there was a 25/75 split. For $100,000, Joe and I were fine with that.
I had the company send me the contract. I read it, was blown away, excited, could not believe my luck, had an agent friend look at it, he said it was a bit wonky, made a few changes to make it fair, they looked over his changes and agreed, sent it back signed, I signed it and then off to the races… Now we had to make sure all deliverables were done as listed in the contract and there are a lot.
This cost a lot of extra money that I did not have, that I did not have access to so I had to sell my 2016 Chevy Colorado — I wasn’t concerned, the $100,000 MG would right that problem.
I had to borrow a bit more to cover QC (Quality Control) issues that I didn’t know we had. I had to borrow a bit more for Phoenix Worldwide not picking up the USD Drive with deliverables in the UK for months, so I had to re-ship another as well as set up an emergency Dropbox so they could get them right then.
So, in June 2019, the USB with deliverables gets to the UK, they know it’s there, it’s 5 miles from their office, yet they won’t pick it up or give FedEx their tax ID so FedEx can just walk it over. They don’t help at all and I spend days on the phone with FedEx international, over and over giving them Phoenix Worldwide info, telling them phone numbers, and giving them names and info of who to contact.
I call and email PWE and tell them to go or contact FedEx international, they just won’t do it. During this time, PWE sold GET GONE to Cleopatra Entertainment without telling us, we found out later, and had to fight and brawl to get paid in NOVEMBER from an April sale, which is a sale before they had the first deliverables or had even told me about it. And they didn’t pay us what we were owed, they never told me what the deal was, that too I had to fight to get a copy of.
The deal was for $35,000, they didn’t let me know and only paid us $22,500 for domestic. This bothered me a great deal. If you look at their account here, it shows you, they had the money to pay me but made the choice not to. Not the date on the payment versus when they accepted deliverables. At this point, I still did not know the total from the sale.
Also, if you look at the payment above, it’s the middle of November, over a month after they finally accepted all deliverables, 7 months after they sold it without telling me. Also, check the dates on the payment VS the date PWE sold my film to Cleopatra on this Agreement. My film arrived in the UK in June, they never picked it up, yet sold my movie in APRIL.. 6 months before they accepted deliverables and never told me.
At this point I’d like to own something; I was going through chemo at this point in my life and it sucked. A lot. Radiation, Steroids, Xeloda, Chemo, Stage 4 Colon Cancer, throwing up every day, all day… The stress of money owed, of this deal, of constant willful avoidance of me and fixing the problem, and new things coming up, It was too much and I did in fact 100% send emails that weren’t in the least civil and used words that are very vulgar. I do not deny it, nor do I regret it. They exist and I wrote them. I’ve had to go without my cancer meds, I’ve over-drafted in my bank, I’ve had my power cut off. Twice.
All goes back to them not paying and sadly, me being unable to work presently. I am trying to believe me. At a point, it just got past being a deflection or being ignored and I lost my temper more than I would have liked due to the levels of poison in my body and how these people who knew I was dying and sick refused to pay the MG they owed and not only that but choose to keep almost 30% of our sale without telling me while they had it in the account to pay us.
Even though they knew my situation with cancer and how bad it had gotten and that I could not afford my meds and my power had gotten shut off once. At this point, months into the fight, I was incredibly physically sick. The person you see in these videos, in the Podcast, that is healing me.
Take a look at my cancer journey videos over the last year, it’s not pretty, and I was going through all that while dealing with trying to get these guys at Phoenix Worldwide Entertainment to do the right thing. I’m not going to repeat what we talked about in the Podcast or in my youtube video again and again, but I want to give some more value to the truth.
To what is going on out there to Independent Film people, and it has been going on for a very long time, and it needs to stop. At present I finally got them to take my movie off the Phoenix Worldwide Entertainment site, last week….after months.
Then, they went ahead and listed it for sale on AFM’s page this past week, really. They had those kinds of balls. So I stopped that too.
I need this paid so I can stop worrying, so it can stop making me sicker, so I can move on, so I can remove the names of about 4-5 people who haven’t done a thing yet somehow have their name above mine on my own damn movie.
No thank you!
Thank you for listening and best of luck with your writing and film work.
Michael Thomas Daniel – Writer/Director/Producer/Fighter
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Please Donate: GoFundMe for Michael’s Cancer Meds
- Micahel Daniel – YouTube
- Micahel Daniel – IMDB
- Get Gone – Official
- Get Gone – Facebook
- Phoenix Worldwide Entertainment
- Phoenix Worldwide Entertainment – Film Catalogue AFM
- Michael Cowman/Mel Gibson Movie Fund Story
- Stealth Media Group – Tom Hardy and Sacha Baron Cohen NOT involved in Film Financing Scandal
- Michael Caine Was Never Attached to Henry V
- Michael Cowman/Michael Caine Movie Fund Story
- Michael Cowman/John Travolta Movie Fund Story
- Warlords Production Liquated after Putting Money In Sales Rep Pockets
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop with Suzanne Lyons (COUPON CODE: IFHFILMPRODUCE)
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
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- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
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- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
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Alex Ferrari 2:38
Well, guys today, this show is man, I don't even know how to say it. I am. I am extremely pissed off and extremely upset for having to do a podcast like this. Today on the show, I have filmmaker Michael Daniel, and his film, get gone, was licensed to a film distributor in the UK called Phoenix Worldwide Entertainment. And they offered him $100,000 mg or minimum guarantee upfront. Now Michael did everything in his power to get everything done. And all the deliverables delivered according to the agreement. And he did that he even sold his truck to get those deliverables done. And that cost him anywhere about $15,000. 14, $15,000 something along those lines to get the deliverables done for his film. And he was supposed to get the money, the $100,000 right away. It has been a year and a half. And they're still playing around with not paying, Michael. Now this story in itself is not as unique as I wish it would be. I hear stories like this all the time. Many of us have heard stories of distributors not living up to their agreements. But the thing that adds a little bit extra salt on this wound is that Michael is fighting stage four cancer. He has terminal cancer, and he is fighting for his life. And he told me that this distributor is literally waiting for him to die. So he doesn't have to pay him. I mean, I thought I've heard everything in regards to predatory distributors. I thought I've I've seen the lowest bottom of the barrel kind of situation. But this takes the cake This is at a whole other level of evil. Now, I saw this video this very passionate video that Michael posted in our Facebook group how to protect yourself from predatory film distributors slash aggregators. And he posted this video there. And I was blown away. He was literally telling a story about how he's fighting stage four, colon cancer. And, and he's stressed out and he's lost friends and he's lost family. And you know, he's almost homeless, he'd sold his car, all this whole story, while these guys, Phoenix worldwide entertainment, according to him, have not have done everything in their power to not pay him. And Michael had proof, emails, contracts, FedEx, receipts, everything. And we put all of that information in an article that he wrote, because I wanted him to tell his story, in his own words, at the show notes at indie film, hustle, calm, Ford slash 413. And you could read that there and also see the original video along with other videos in regards to his journey fighting cancer, and his journey making his film. Now after I heard his story, I started to do some research on Phoenix worldwide entertainment. And what I found was not only disturbing, but I was just overwhelmed at the just immense amount of fraud cases, and impropriety and lawsuits that hit this man and these companies that he runs has had over the years. And I have links to all of the research that I found at the show notes, but I'll give you just the cliff notes of what I discovered. He was accused of raising money for a film called Mary mother of Christ, using the name of Oscar winning producers and director Mel Gibson, Mr. Gibson had never heard of the project. He also did the same thing with a film called Henry the fifth, where he supposedly had starring Tom Hardy, Albert Finney, William H. Macy, Sasha bar Cohen, Michael Caine, gerada, Purdue and Ray Winston attached to the project as well. And when the actors agents were contacted, they said they had never heard of the project and had nothing to do with it. And then once again through another company that he co founded called stealth Media Group, which is a finance and international sales company. He was accused of doing the same thing again using john Travolta's name for an animated film called Gummi. Bears. Again, Mr. Travolta when reached, knew nothing of the project and had no involvement in the film. And the list goes on on the amount of scandals and accusations against Mr. Cohen and his company's guys, I have to say something here. This needs to stop. This kind of absolute crap that keeps happening in our business needs to stop. The system is broken. If predatory film distributors can continue to get away with screwing film producers and filmmakers, again and again and again, the system is broken and needs to be changed. And the only weapon that we as filmmakers have against these predatory distributors is to shine a light on when and where they do this crap. They work in the shadows, all of these deals are done in dark alleys back where somewhere, and no one ever hears about it because filmmakers are afraid to come forward or don't want to talk about it. Or just think that they're just a small little filmmaker, and can't possibly take on a big powerful predatory distributor. I was literally on the phone in a consulting session with a filmmaker yesterday, where he told me his story about how a predatory distributor had screwed them over. And when he confronted the distributor about it, the distributor said and I quote, I'll see you in the quarter of who gives a fuck. Excuse my language. But that is a direct quote. The distributor in question was in the UK in the filmmaker was in the US. The distributor knew that the chances of the filmmaker taking him to court in another country were slim to none. And the filmmakers lawyer advised him to let it go because the cost would be too much to take into court and the distributor knew this. This crap needs to stop. That's why I wanted to give Michael a voice. I wanted to give him a platform so he could share his story with 1000s and 10s of 1000s of filmmakers that listen to this podcast and watch my videos and read my blog posts For so long, Michael felt like he was alone, that nobody would help him. And I know that's how a lot of filmmakers feel in this world. You bust your ass, trying to get your movie made you, you sacrifice, you scrape and claw your way to the finish line to get your movie made. And then at the end, some predatory bastard comes in and steals your movie from you, and doesn't pay you and laughs in your face. This needs to stop. I personally want to thank Michael for coming forward and sharing his story with the tribe. It takes a brave soul to do what he is doing. He's not only fighting cancer, he's not only fighting for his life, but he's also fighting to get his film back, and to receive the money that he is legally owed. This episode is brutal and painful to listen to. Both Michael and I believe that this episode will help countless filmmakers around the world. Without any further ado, here's my conversation with Michael Daniel. I like to welcome to the show Michael Daniel, man, thank you for coming on the show, Michael.
Michael Daniel 11:20
Thank you, Alex for having me.
Alex Ferrari 11:21
I wish it was under better circumstances. But I saw this very passionate video that you posted up on YouTube, telling the story of how you're experienced with a specific distributor who will we'll be talking about soon. And, and how you you were stating that they are taken advantage of you and not lived up to their agreements. And I hear those stories on a daily basis, I get emails on a daily basis about those things as sad as and tariff is horrible as that stuff is I get it all the time. And I try to help as much as I can. And obviously through what I do at any film, hustle. And everything I do on a daily basis. I'm trying to get the education and the information out for people not to get screwed, but yours was even you had something that I had not heard before. You are struggling with cancer currently and and when I heard that a distributor was doing something to someone was essentially dying or fighting for their life. And still doing this. I can't sit back and not allow you to come on the show and spread the word about what has happened to you and hopefully that can help other people. So before we go down this road, how did you start in the business? Because I think that's important for people to understand.
Michael Daniel 12:42
Okay, honestly, the very first script I wrote was involved with Project Greenlight men back with Matt Damon Ben Affleck because back in the day,
Alex Ferrari 12:47
That would be I was in season two, sir. I was in the opening sequence of season two, sir.
Michael Daniel 12:54
To Park City Party and the what are the LA parties the bowling alley? So yeah, back then. Yeah. So yeah. My first script was a comedy called misinformation. I'd never I wrote it in word like an idiot. So I had to do change everything cuz I didn't know what I was doing. So anyway, that was the start. So my read like this is really funny. Blah, blah, blah, Minister just writing other stuff. And then I turned to street rumor that day. Yeah. So truth free.com, I start putting scripts up there. And then I started getting the top three. And then I got a couple of screenplay that month and I won something then then they had me come on and do like an interview about it. And that the fifth first 10 pages that I'm not really big contest enter into Earth. But I had a script I was really passionate about those. I care a lot about civil rights and people being treated like human beings. And it's a it's a film called a circle that circle in the water. And it's basically a story that starts with a hit was born. And it ends the day Obama was elected. But it follows this black family in Stone Mountain Georgia, trying to build a dairy and fighting racism in the south. And then they happen to be at like all these different places. Anyway, so I wrote that entered nickel fellowship with that script. I came in to semifinals without nine I've been a quarter. I've been a quarterfinals three times and it was no semifinals once that got me introduced to my buddy john Orland because I couldn't afford to go to into pitch fest. So I volunteered that I got meetings because of volunteer and at the cocktail party is shit with people and people said, Oh, yeah, cool. Yeah, let's talk. Then I got hired to write two scripts ideas I have from him. You know, it built and built and I started making short film have one or two short films and then I was like, You know what, I want to make this but I've never had money. I've never had anybody believed in me family in never. I know a lot of friends now. And believe me, I really see what I'm doing. But I had to go through a lot to get to this point. And my buddy Joseph shell, who's the executive producer, he and I paid for him most mostly he you know, they they screwed him out, like nine grand or more, you know, so he knew me for a long time. He knew I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, you know, I mean, documentaries, hiking the Appalachian Trail, walked across an American did a documentary, he knew all this. He knew if I set out to do something, I would complete it. And he's like, Hey, man, I just sold this property up in Oregon. I've got like an extra 80 90,000 I can throw in if you've got Story, you're going to write a script. So I popped out a script moved up there and got it all together, you know. And that's how I finally got to the feature. So it was like, you know, it like most filmmakers, it's not giving up. And it took me from Project Greenlight to now to get that movie to get a real movie made. I worked with Christopher on a few projects, and I wrote for him a couple of times. And other people I've met, oddly enough, either through on the water Project Greenlight, so you know, Internet's been great. So that got me to get gone. See, dedication, man. movie? Um, so yeah, that's about you know, that's the condensed version, there's a whole lot more stuff.
Alex Ferrari 15:36
Oh, I'm sure. I'm sure. Yeah, that's definitely the condensed version, well, then tell me So tell me about your film and and how it got made and how, what the struggles were just to get this thing to get to the thing to where you have it. And again, we could do a condensed version.
Michael Daniel 15:51
I can say has enough if I go too long. Alright. Um, so like I said, I moved to the town got into all the people who live in a specific town Cascade Locks, Oregon. And I started looking for locations and stuff trying to make this work, you know, and I wanted to get all the Sorry, just cat's meowin'. I'm sorry
Alex Ferrari 16:09
That's okay. No, you can, Cat meows its. Okay. No worries.
Michael Daniel 16:12
Okay, cool. All right. So Cascade Locks, Oregon, blah, blah, blah, got to meet all the locals found all the locations. I cast it, I get a local caching at the Best Western there and cascade for Oregon, folks, Portland come in. But a lot of great people hired a lot of great people right there was looking for a dp I told him, I was like, dude, we started this, we only had like, $65,000. That's all we had. And the Joe was cool enough to say, All right, I'll throw in a little more since you got land Shay, you know, because mark, the DP that I contacted, he had done a movie with Lind before. And he's like, well, I can't promise you bro. I was like, Alright, well, I'll just write a nice letter. And I wrote her letter, she loved the letter, got back to me talk to me a couple of times. And she agreed to read the script. She read it like the part and agreed to do it. And I was like, Hey, this is a low ultra low budget movie. I was like, it ain't gonna be like what you're used to. I was like, we were doing those. Half of my crew had never done any kind of film where ever in their life, we had a crew of Chris one liner, who was the ad and strange bird, Adam. And that was it. And this mail was there a couple days, but we had three people doing all of our lights for the first two weeks, and we shot for 14 days, we lost a day and a half for a specific reason. I'm gonna get into that you're out. But uh, so we got it all done. We had, we missed a couple of scenes. So we had to get everybody back a couple of weeks later. So we shot the final bit. And then we had to get it edited, obviously, and at this point, I was cutting clips with this other kid and both Portland and I was planning to go to AFM that was 2018. So I was taking clips of the film to AFM so I can help you know, I could try to market my film try to get people look at it. Um, so it was getting edited a little bit at that point, but this decade, we had to rehire a different editor. That's a whole different story. You know, so, so we had to do that. And I got the clips too. I talked to gravitas offered me a deal. I and offered me a deal. loski and Shane, Sean Shane, they took me out to dinner and offered me a deal. I mean, everybody, I had met him MGS from 40,000, to about 10. And I was going to take the 40 i think i think that was that was my friend Gianni. He had some friend of his who was at the market who liked He's like, Well, look, we can make this back. He said that we can make this money back because the hook, you know, just the stores. I was a cool. So I did at that point I got contacted by Phoenix, you know? Absolutely.
Alex Ferrari 18:34
So who are we talking about? So for people who don't know who was the who's the company, you're talking about?
Michael Daniel 18:39
Phoenix worldwide entertainment is our is the company that I made the deal with. And what happened was I they approached me after after AFM and I said, hey, look, this is the situation. I've got these offers. I was like so and this is the best one. I'll get to that company, blah, blah, blah, what's your official offer? They sent me a contract. I thought it was kind of fishy. So I sent it to my buddy. He works at an agency. He's not like I don't have an agent or anything. But I sent it to him. That's why I wish I had an agent. But I sent it to him. And he like he's like, yeah, you need to take this, I'll take this out, fix this. And he did all that I sent it back to them. They approved it, signed it, send it back to me. And I signed in the whole deal is as you know, the contract for a sales agent who is getting it to distribute distributors. There is a you know,there's there's a set of deliverables that you
Alex Ferrari 19:24
So hold on for one second. Okay, so Phoenix worldwide is a sales agent and not a distributor.
Michael Daniel 19:30
Alex Ferrari 19:31
they're both okay. So they dance in both and both things. Okay, great. And, and they're based in the UK if I'm not mistaken, correct?
Michael Daniel 19:39
Yeah, they have addresses here for some reason, but I've noticed to like the one of the information things I have, has an Arizona address. And then there's another it was in Maryland or Delaware,
Alex Ferrari 19:50
Ofcourse. Yeah. Yeah, that would that would be for local taxes. So yeah, that's why they're in those in those setup, but generally they're probably just peel boxes or something like that. General but they are a UK based company, correct?
Michael Daniel 20:02
Alex Ferrari 20:03
Michael Daniel 20:03
Yes. They handle, you know, all kinds of films.
Alex Ferrari 20:06
Okay, great. So, so continue. So they asked for deliverables,
Michael Daniel 20:10
Alex Ferrari 20:10
And what was their deal? What was the deal they offered by 100,000 100,100?
Michael Daniel 20:14
$100,000 On acceptance over deliverables within three days, except the deliverables we get $100,000 in deposit in our bank.
Alex Ferrari 20:20
Okay, great. And then also, what was the term? Do you remember the term meaning like, is it five years a 10? year? Is there a marketing cap anything like that?
Michael Daniel 20:28
Was 7 25,000 on a marketing cap? That was supposed to come after the fact after we got our mg the surety said, Sure. $25,000 marketing guy did most of the marketing. They did a couple of posters, which is great, but I was one just all over the place.Yeah, so
Alex Ferrari 20:45
And then and then the cost and then the Okay, so the MG I'm trying to I'm just reviewing this it was it was a five year deal or seven year deal. $25,000 marketing cap. And and you were supposed to get $100,000 mg. And your budget for the film was how much
Michael Daniel 21:01
Was about 97 plus post and I had to sell my truck proposed because we kept having to do more deliverables and I had to get rid of one editor. So we basically had to start fresh again.
Alex Ferrari 21:09
Okay,All right. So let's go into let's go into the deliverables real quick.
Michael Daniel 21:13
Okay, yep. So what? So I got all the deliverables done, put them on a USB got their information, Pinewood Studios in the UK, delivered it to the FedEx, but they told us the address they told us to I got confirmation that was there. Then all of a sudden three or four days later Hey, guys, we got to drive yet. They're like, Well, no, it's it's it's FedEx, which was five miles from Pinewood Studios. And they're like, It's over there. The FedEx how we, you know, they haven't delivered yet. I was like, Yeah, I know, I've talked to FedEx International, like seven times, they're saying that you guys need to give them some tax number that you didn't give them so they can give you the package. I was like, I just need one of you guys on your way to work on the way home stop by just pick up the two months past. They never fixed it up. And I at that point, I that's when I sold my truck. And actually a couple of friends. I've taken loans from to pay for the for QC. For a little extra editing some music stuff, we needed to pay for all this extra stuff. I was borrowing money, because I was under the assurance that I'll be able to pay everybody back. So I would like an apple.
Alex Ferrari 22:09
So no, no, no, no. Okay, so what was the final cost of all the deliverables? For you out of pocket?
Michael Daniel 22:17
Well, after about 14 after the BS,should have been eight or nine Max,
Alex Ferrari 22:24
But it was about $14,000 cash out of your pocket. And you were saying, Well, sure, I'll pay it because I have a guarantee of $100,000 going into my bank account, why wouldn't I pay it? So I can get this thing up and running? And let's let's go. Okay, so so two months passed, they still haven't picked up the thing? Which of course, by the way is the laying there $100,000 payment?
Michael Daniel 22:46
Oh, of course. Yeah, of course. And so what ended up happening is we had recent another drive, and also hook them all up everywhere at Pinewood who work them on a Dropbox file, and upload all our doubles on a separate Dropbox file on top of USB. Then that took for some reason that still took forever for them to look at. And you know, then Rachel, I guess one of the employees there got back said, Yep, this looks all great. Everything's good to go. Okay, great. And then, as you know, now we went back and forth. Now then, that was in October. So the first one was in July 2 was in and what's funny enough morning, but in July, I was super horribly sick. August is when I got my cancer, I got stage four colon cancer with metzen, lungs, liver and kidneys. And I'm doing amazing. I was supposed to be dead last Christmas. And I think they think I was gonna die because they knew I had cancer as soon as they get that drug because I was horrible to you go back and look at my videos. And that time, I'm about 60 pounds heavier. Last week, oh, like that, you know, but my doctor told me was gonna be dead, you know. And I did infusions, you know, for a while anyway. So there were situations that came up during that time, too. As a guys. I'm going through really horrible stuff here. Man. I was like, I need to be able to pay for meds I have to set up interest. I don't have that yet. I don't have a place to live up here yet. I was like, I just moved out of one house because I was finally going like a three month hike. That's my plan. I started with mountain hikes out. And just the world fell apart out of nowhere. You know, I've been sick I guess for a long I made the whole movie with stage four cancer didn't know I made a movie, you know, while I was sick. So I put up all that fun stuff. So yeah, I was begging him and I have emails and messages that say do we will definitely send you something to help with that. Then we'll work on this other stuff. And that happened 56789 times. My power has been turned off twice. I can show you my bet. I think my bank account has seven or $8 in it right now I live on because of this. I let you know because I know I seem pretty hyper active. And I am like I said I try to take care of myself. But I do tend not to dog I'm laying down because I'm so winded and I'm trying to build that back up and I'm doing really good. But there's you know, every problem I've had on top of the stress of dealing with cancer deal with not being paid, I'm dealing with my buddy Joe who put all his money to I'm dealing another buddy Scott who handed me six grand just cuz he's an awesome human being. You know, I paid him back three out of the first because I'm like, dude, I tried to pay as many people back as I could Right away, and I left us with nothing again, you know, it's like I wrote a script, I got paid a little bit for that, because Joe's asked me to carry me on that. But basically two and a half years of work, I got nothing. These assholes had their name above my film, beat a tool writer to present above my name.
Alex Ferrari 25:15
Alright. Okay. Okay, so so let's, let's take it back for a second. Alright, so now they have, they have been pushing and pushing and pushing for you to to get your money, any sort of money, any sort of money whatsoever. They've been let go, it's coming. It's coming. It's coming. It's coming. And you've already delivered. So you've now you've now abided by the agreement. You've delivered it, they've approved those deliverables. And now you're waiting for their part of the MG, which is what they're supposed to pay, according to the contract. So it's now been how many months since the moment you deliver to the point where they won? Well, it's actually up to now, today, me today. Yeah. So you still that you're a little over. So a little over a year, and they still haven't paid you the MG that they promised you according to the agreement. Okay. So I just want everybody to understand that everyone listening, just because it's on paper doesn't an agreement doesn't mean 100% that they're going to do it. You got to be careful about who you're walking into these deals with, because you just don't know what the scenario is. And a lot of times the distributor might have the greatest the best intentions in the world. But something like COVID hits and all their money dries up another screwed. So there's other which I'm not saying that's this case, but it's just the world. It's just business. It happens in every business. But this is different, different scenario. Okay, so they haven't given you any money. And then they're just constantly just kind of gaslighting you. And it's all it's all coming. It's coming. It's coming. It's coming. It's coming coming. All right, so what's the next Oh, do you go after? What What's it what happens to your movie? Because the movie gets released, right?
Michael Daniel 26:58
Yeah, and I didn't know what have been sold. And anybody knows anything about this business knows if you're a filmmaker, you deal with sales agents and distributors and they are both supposed to come to you and say, Hey, this is a situation we have somebody to territory that wants to buy your your bill. Would you agree to this? Would you sign this so we can sell it so we can get paid? And you can get paid? And then a filmmaker says yes or no, that never happened? What happened was Lin Shaye got a hold me Okay, congratulations. I hear they're doing a screening of your movie in LA at that little you know, the Hollywood at the cinema. Cleopatra doesn't have screenings that I was like, Wait, what? I was like, Wait, what? And so then I you know, the main DJ got on the phone like wait, you sold the movie? Who do you sell it to? They found out was sold to Cleopatra, then we were trying to get a receipt? No. Hey, man, listen.
Alex Ferrari 27:40
So we're gonna real quick clip. Because people I want to make sure everyone keeps you know stays with the story. So Cleopatra is another distributor who purchased the rights to your film from Phoenix entertainment worldwide.
Michael Daniel 27:54
Yeah, here's what I'm doing. Yeah, they're a wash. And they're great. And I'm gonna say this to make sure everyone understands Cleopatra, entertainment, Tam, those guys. They've been awesome. To me. This was not their fault. What they did their business people, they were offered a product, they pay the price for the product, and they put the product out. The people who are fucking me are the people who kept 30% of my money. And on top of that, you know, another almost 80 grant. So
Alex Ferrari 28:19
By the way, what was the deal? Well, that was one thing I forgot to ask you about the deal. What was their percentage? It's not 30%. Was it a 70-30?
Michael Daniel 28:26
I didn't look at that contract. You know, I think it's I think it was, what was it? Like? 10% 5%? Honestly, God, I have to look at that front page. Again. I don't have in front of me.
Alex Ferrari 28:34
Okay. Okay. But it's, but it wasn't 30%
Michael Daniel 28:37
No, God, no, it was I'm saying DJ, my buddy DJ, he was, you know, helps him with like this kind of stuff. You should get the mic and then do. He's like this ludicrous. He said, they should have kept two grand three grand Max, Max. He said, All they do is sign a paper. I ain't done anything, you know. And he said that he will tell you, they did the deal. Literally, I had to find out later and then beg and plead. And I got to the point now I'm going to be honest with you, brother. I was pleasant for a time. And I've used very, very, very choice words and emails to these people. And I have no problem saying that. I'll admit it. I'm a nice guy. I'm a loving good human being. But if you step on me, I'm gonna step back, you know, and it's not right. And I again, I own up to anything bad I ever said anything vulgar. I ever send an email because I've had, you get to a point you snap me and these people still don't care. They I snapped because they started ignoring the emails. They won't even respond. I haven't heard from Michael Cohen in probably eight or nine months.
Alex Ferrari 29:28
No, of course, of course. Just blocked this off. All right. So okay, so now your film has been purchased by Cleopatra entertainment. And they release it, they release it and they have and from what you have what you discovered by the way you you had to find out outside of these people. So all the information that you're getting about what Cleopatra has done is from Cleopatra themselves, or other people that you've gotten this information from but not from Phoenix. Okay, of course, so they purchase from what you've told me they purchased English Speaking rights. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Michael Daniel 30:13
Well finish worldwide, purchased universal rights.
Alex Ferrari 30:16
Correct. But then
Michael Daniel 30:19
suppose what I was told was they purchase domestic rights. But then what I found out later was it supposedly purchased all English speaking territories, which is a bunch of crap. And I had, I had no idea about that. I didn't know if I would agree to something like that, because that's markets that you can make more money off of. And that's,
Alex Ferrari 30:36
Of course, that's huge. That's huge markets that you're just giving away. So Alright, and Do you mind? Do you mind saying how much you they paid for that those rights?
Michael Daniel 30:46
Alex Ferrari 30:46
No, no, no. Cleopatra
Michael Daniel 30:48
Oh, they paid 20. It was supposed to be 35,000. Total. That's what they gave those guys. And then they sent us only 25 without telling us how much they owe us. Well, I never even heard the deals for I just knew we were getting paid me to argue back and forth to get that.
Alex Ferrari 31:00
But you've got. So Phoenix did send you 22,5 off of this deal. But they still have never paid you any of the MG. I don't know.
Michael Daniel 31:08
And that that took months and months and months and months to that was a battle.
Alex Ferrari 31:12
Oh, it wasn't like a magical check that showed up that you actually had to fight for that.
Michael Daniel 31:17
Over and over phone bank. They did the bank they use denied they sent the transfer, I kept asking for a tracking number confirmation bank info, they wouldn't send, they would talk to me, they will have that we don't have to
Alex Ferrari 31:27
So you discovered so I just want to create the timeline for filmmakers listening, you find out from Lynn Shea who by the way, if everyone doesn't know who Lynn Shea is, can you tell him what Lynch has been in? Because
Michael Daniel 31:37
Something about Mary and every other movie Kingpin Jesus, you know,
Alex Ferrari 31:41
she's been in 1000 things. Alright, so she's a very well known actress. So Lynn Shay calls you and says, Hey, congratulations. So then because of that information, then you reach out to Cleopatra. And, and they're cool with you about it, and they start giving you all this information, then you reach out to Phoenix and going, Hey, where's my money? And now the beginning, from that process of the phone's phone call about Cleopatra, to the point where you got your 20 to five, how long did that take?
Michael Daniel 32:12
Alex Ferrari 32:13
months, and it was just hounding and beating up and emails and calls and just obscene amounts of time.
Michael Daniel 32:18
And being told that I was a bad person for getting mad at them for doing this and stuff like that, and that I was wrong for saying they're stealing my money and this and that. They told me I was a bad person more than once more than once for saying that. Wow, that's what this made. I can't I can't do this anymore. I can't. Wow. Boy, brother, and people need to know, and people will find out. So but yeah,
Alex Ferrari 32:41
You're the bad person for asking for the money that you're owed, in addition to the money that the $100,000 that they never gave. So they they've reneged on their agreement with you, or they've never, they just never paid you. And then they're upset with you, because then you call them out on a deal that they sold your movie and never told you about it, which is also I'm assuming part of your agreement that you're told when something is sold, or at least even told that you're going to be sold, or should I sell it? Yep. Oh, God. Okay. All right. So you get the 22. Five, and then you're still fighting to get that and that took? So you got 22 five. Great, fantastic. It's some money. Fantastic. And I'm sure when they sent you that check. They're like, Are you happy now?
Michael Daniel 33:24
Yeah, no. Roby actually put in one of the emails. This is this is the end of this whole thing or something like that. No, it's not.
Alex Ferrari 33:31
This is the end of this whole thing. So they've never did you did? Did you keep bringing up the $100,000 they owed you?
Michael Daniel 33:38
All the time. I sent him emails with the contract in it.
Alex Ferrari 33:41
And then they what do they do? What do they say?
Michael Daniel 33:44
Where it completely, they don't say anything? Nothing, zero. Now and then, because they're all blaming each other. This point is true. Michael's blaming, he's blaming them. This guy says he doesn't work at the company where this guy said they made the deal that this guy, it's bunch of bullshit con man. That's all they are, you know.
Alex Ferrari 34:00
Wow. And I want to I also want to clarify something. Just so we so everybody is aware. I did a little research on on Michael and Phoenix and these guys. Can you tell the story from what I saw my research? They had issues with Mel Gibson? Correct. Can you tell that story?
Michael Daniel 34:21
What I know all I know is I found that out later, I did research because I was getting pissed. And I started finding stuff about the guy and the other guy. But it was mainly it was some kind of stealth something is some film company that they put together and they raised millions of dollars from different investors to make a movie called Mary Magdalene. And what I gathered from that was that the movie was never made. Mel Gibson had never agreed to be involved in the movie, didn't even know anything about it. And they were just pulling in lots of money to go and suppose he wasn't involved. But I see a court case where he was banned from doing business in the UK for a decade or something like that, and he's doing this deal. So maybe he's breaking the law. He doesn't know it.
Alex Ferrari 34:58
So there's definitely some There's some smoke here. There's definitely some smoke here. Okay, so Alright, so now where so basically you you're at the end of your rope, you you're dealing with fighting for your life, because you have cancer. And you're still struggling just to get paid the money that you're owed. Essentially, what who owns like, so now you can't get the rights back to your movie if you try because Cleopatra has them.
Michael Daniel 35:31
Right? They have the missile We need to talk. All of us need to have a talk. I tried to call him a couple times like this, this they know the deal. They've been included a couple of emails, they know the shady shit that's going on. So hopefully they will stand up for the reckoning.
Alex Ferrari 35:45
Even in Cleopatra he's talking about
Michael Daniel 35:47
Yeah, I don't want to drag violence in. But I will tell you this Cleopatra is a conglomerate are a part of Sony, which is the orchard 1091 Oh, yeah. The first day when I posted that video bitching about Venus worldwide. Yeah, guess what a copyright claim on my fucking video. The orchard? Why? Because that opening song, which is off iMovie. Right claim on me. How about that? What a bunch of dick bags?
Alex Ferrari 36:13
Michael Daniel 36:15
It was right after I you know so. And that's their company that owns Yeah, I don't know. Who knows, man. But you know,
Alex Ferrari 36:22
Michael Daniel 36:25
So he told me that I need to be Yo, you shouldn't do this because it could hurt your career, the future. And I say this again. People who do this to people I don't want to work with, I would never want to work with them. If you back people who do this kind of shit up. I don't want to work for you either. I mean, you don't say anybody who backs up the horrible stuff these people did. It's not okay. And like you said earlier, it happens all the time. And people just ignore it. Right? Like, it doesn't happen. And then most people can't fight it. Or they just give up after a few months. I that guy you know, and that's the thing. It's, they weren't expecting the fight. So
Alex Ferrari 36:54
This is this is the this is the problem I see in general, and I'll get on my soapbox for a second, the system is broken. The system needs to change the system of distribution for films, and compensating filmmakers feel producers, even other distributors in this chain, because a lot of times smaller distributors are in the same boat as filmmakers, because then they'll sell to a bigger distributor who screws them out, which in turn screws out that the filmmaker so there's multiple people in this chain, the system has not been designed to help you or to help predict they're just not built it. The system has not never was designed to help filmmakers since the days of Buster Keaton and Chaplin. I mean, that's just you know, how many times have we heard the term Hollywood accounting? Right? I mean, how many times we've heard about the distributor screwed me, I mean, it's the equivalent of the casting couch until the metoo movement, the casting couch, which was his punch line, like, Oh, she got the part because she had to go on the couch to couch or he got the part because of that. It was part of business as usual until someone stood up, and the movement stops. So this kind of bullshit wouldn't happen anymore. And I feel that this has to happen in our side of the business, because in many ways is just, it's I hate to use this term, but it's like a financial raping of a filmmakers. I mean, look at the stuff you're going through, and how much struggle that you went through to make your film. And you sold your car and you're you know, you almost homeless, you're dealing with cancer, you've you've taken loans out and you're and by the way, your story is insanely horrible. But I've heard other stories of people completely becoming desolate, like just gone, like moving like 50 year old men and women moving back home, because they lost everything because they they trusted a distributor or trusted an mg or trusted that this or you know, whatever it needs to change. And that's why I wanted to have you on the show to kind of share your story. So people really get this man that this is not BS. You know, and I know you know this as well as from what I did last year with the stripper when I broke that story. And what happened with that, and that's still going on. And I after the New Year, there'll probably be some updates. I'll just leave it at that on that scenario, but it's This is it. This is wrong, man, this is absolutely wrong. And it's it needs to stop. And now by the way, it's getting tougher for anybody to make money in the business COVID has changed the whole game completely. And now the pressure is starting to be applied on this system that was broken before COVID. So now guess who's gonna get screwed? All the filmmakers are gonna get screwed more and more and more and more, there's going to be more more companies that are going to do this kind of these kinds of shenanigans because either they have to or because they want to You know, and again, I'm sorry. And this all started pre COVID. Yeah, it This all started pre COVID. So all right, so Oh, by the way, I heard that that your video caused a little bit of little havoc. It has how many times this have been seen so far? Like 600? I think this morning. Yeah, 600 topics, we'll probably get a couple more hits by the time we're done. But, but didn't somebody reach out to you from Phoenix?
Michael Daniel 40:29
Oh, yeah, yeah, they reached out to me. They're like, hey, if you'll take those videos down, we'll give you $3,000 of our personal money right now to take all the videos down, and then we'll pay you the rest or whatever we can at first of December. No, first, it was the first of the year. And I was like, no, they're like, Okay, well, we'll give you 3000 out, then we'll give you more of the first to December. I was like, No, I was like, what I would like, I don't want less. I don't want money as a favor. I don't want any I don't want to frickin whatever I want you to pay what's in the contract? what you owe us what you took. That's it, none of us will be going on. If they honor the contract, they just what they owes. I'll be working on another film right now. I would not be doing this shit. You know it because I can't stop until this is handled. I can't move on until this is handled. They moved on their fucking other people and taking their money. You know, I haven't, I haven't moved on. And I've been I'm glad you reached out. Because I've been doing this by myself. I had nobody to help me with this. You know.
Alex Ferrari 41:20
And, you know, if I if my platform can help get the word out on on stuff, and educate filmmakers about what's going on in our industry. That's what I do. And again, when I heard your story, I had to I had to, I wanted to shine a light on this because I just wanted to like, this is come on to the dude's got cancer. I mean, I mean, like, come on, man. Like, just just a little bit human. Just not a lot, just a little bit human. And, and even if like, look even it's like, Look, we can't pay you the 100,000 the way we promise you can we pay you 10 grand a month, can we pay you five grand a month, can we pay you something until we pay it off, because we're having struggles, there's conversations, man, there's something that could be done. If they truly cared about helping you
Michael Daniel 41:25
All the BrahMos they sent me their confirmation from the bank, they showed us what they paid us. And what they the mistake they made was they included their balance. So I saw they had my money, they just opted to not pay it. Oh, frost bank, it shows their accounts like 67,000 they sent me 22 and they owed me 35 so it's there, it's on paper, it's it's right there that they fucked me. And it's like you had the money, you could have done the right thing right away, you didn't you know, just for the domestic deal. And I told them that at that point is like if you can pay us for the domestic go for an hour, we can work out the other later, you know, and no one wanted to do that. They just want to ignore everything and not paying anybody you know, sick.
Alex Ferrari 42:46
It is it is unfortunate that this this continues to go on in our industry. And I want filmmakers to be really just aware that this is the way business is done a lot of times unfortunately, you know, predatory distributors are out there and doing business and hurting filmmakers on a daily basis all around the world. And, and you know, when when this gets released, AFM is going around the corner. It comes it comes out, you know? And can the castle market Berlin, MIPCOM, all of these, you know, there there are these kind of predatory distributors out there doing this kind of business. So, in all honesty, you know, when you sign a deal with a company overseas, it's really difficult for you to do anything. Am I wrong? So like, let's say you wanted to, you know, put a legal case against them. You got to hire an attorney in England to take them to court in England right?
Michael Daniel 43:49
They do no pay no pay no fee attorneys there. And what I've already been contact what they've done is an offense and you can get prison time what they've done in UK it's a it's a it's a prison terms offense. It's not a it's not an offender but and these people contacted me like yeah, you know, you might want to show them this and maybe they'll have it straight out their accounts. But of course that's when they called me to after I said that he or I'm sorry, that's an easy contact about the three Isabella's after sending that little little note
Alex Ferrari 44:18
$3,000. So they're trying to hush, it's like a payoff to basically to take it off. Right. And they didn't disagree with you. Right. And the email they didn't like, they didn't say you're absolutely lying. We've paid you all our money. They didn't say that. Did they add nothing against? Nope. Right. So we just tried they, they're just setting you up to trying to shut you up. That's hard. It's Yeah, well, it's gonna get harder. That's for sure. It's gonna get harder. I microman I let me ask you a question. Because I'm just so upset about this and I just holding back as much as I possibly Can, what do you want to happen? So if they're going to see this, and they're going to hear this that I can promise you, what do you want to happen? Now? At this point, I mean, I don't want to get all dark but no, no, no. Okay. Okay, let's, let's Okay, hold on. Let me let me rephrase the question because I could see where this is going. What? What would you like to happen in regards to your film, getting paid and moving on with your life?
Michael Daniel 45:33
Well, what I would like is finish worldwide to pay me. I told them, they already took it off their site just recently, again, they had him on the eighth and page yesterday for sale, they had get gone on a pitch for silly. And I, I sent him Jonathan wolf in the midst of an email saying, Get my movie off your page, as I talked about Phoenix was like, john, this is my movie, they have no right. And they took it off like that. But I think they're still doing it. They're still doing it. But what I would like to happen is my buddy Joe to get his money, me to get enough money to get my fucking truck back for God's sakes, I don't care about the rest, man, I love doing this. So I don't like this part of it. But I love doing it. You know, I love the process. I love the people. And I want to say that to real quick before anything else, the film get gone, man, my casting crew, I love those people very much, we accomplish something that's really hard. You know, we and i just i, this has nothing to do with any of those people. So that's very important that everyone knows as well, they're, those people helped me accomplish a dream, it means more to me than anything in the world. So I want to get that out, too. You know, that's, that's super important to me. So, but yeah, those other guys are dicks.
Alex Ferrari 46:33
So you just basically, you basically just at this point in the game, want them to, to live up to their agreement, pay you the $100,000 that they owe you. And, and and then at the end and then go away. And just that's it. And they can, they could go off and live and you can go off and live.
Michael Daniel 46:50
I want to I don't want him to go off live successful, I want them to never get to buy another film, I don't want them to ever get access to the project. You know, I've already I have stepped in have had people call me and ask my advice. And I say don't make a decision based on what I tell you. But I'll tell them my story. And then they make the decision. And I have a feeling both of those films did not get picked up by peanuts on entertainment. And that will continue as well, you know, so I'm gonna be honest, I'm not going to downtrodden anybody, I'm not going to defame anybody, I'm not going to lie about anybody, I'm going to be honest. Because that's bad enough, the truth is fucking horrible. So,
Alex Ferrari 47:23
Right, and this is the, this is the truth. This is the truth based on the paperwork, and the and all the stuff that you have in the agreements, and, and bank of receipts and all the stuff that you've been laid out. And we're going to also be putting in the show notes, an article that you're writing, detailing a lot of this stuff with, with collaborating, corroborating paperwork to back everything up that you're saying, on our site, as well. So if anybody wants that, I'll leave that in the show notes. And I'll let you know where to go get that and read that information. Because, man, all right, so yeah, cuz I understand a lot of people are going to start to start reaching out to you, and they're gonna, if they, they're going to look up these guys, and your name is gonna probably pop up. I've had that happen to me. I've had people look up a certain company. And, and then and then my podcast shows up. Like if you type in the word distributor. I was like the number one search, I was the number one and number two blinks on Google for distributor for the longest time, until the LA until the LA Times picked up the story. And then they became number one. But I was still a story about me dealing with a stripper.
Michael Daniel 48:39
You brought it to it, man, that's that's the thing. You got it out there. That's the key to get it all fixed this problem in this industry, we have to do this kind of thing. You know,
Alex Ferrari 48:47
We gotta shine the light.
Michael Daniel 48:49
Yeah, none of us are perfect human beings. No one's perfect. We all make mistakes. I understand that. And I'll forgive people, if they say, hey, look, we fucked up. I'm sorry. Because I've had to do that. I was like, Look, I've made a mistake. I'm sorry. You can't get better. You can't fix problems. You can't move on unless you're able to do that. And they need to do it to a lot of people, at least four or five people I know that they fucked over. So you know, it's
Alex Ferrari 49:11
I think that i think the thing that a lot of these kind of distributors are just generally predatory distributors in general, they like to live and work in the darkness. They don't want light shine on what they do. They don't want transparency. They don't want to see what's going on behind the scenes. They don't want you to see they don't want information to get out there. They don't want to educate filmmakers about what cross collateralization is, and and not putting on a marketing cap and locking up your film for 10 years plus and you know, you know, not getting paid. They don't want people to know what the stuff is because that gives them power. So I feel it's my mission and my purpose to shine as much light on What they do in this business so everyone can see it, because that's the only way our business is going to be able to grow. Because at the end of the day, if we keep screwing over the content creators, we're not going to be able to keep making content. And if we can't make content, there is no product. And by the way, a lot of newer generation, younger distribution companies are figuring that out. And they're not all about like the grab the one off, let me steal as much money as I can from these guys. And they're like, let's build a partnership, let's make sure that you can do more of this because the more product you can bring to me, the more money I can make, the more money you can make. That's the way it should be. It shouldn't be this kind of predatory. Let me screw you for as much as you can, because there's another 20 Films sitting behind you and right now that might be the case. But I promise you if you keep screwing this up and the information continues to get out there, I actually showed like my book to a few people who are outside the business and I have like I have like four or five chapters on distribution and all the craziness and they said Why would anyone do this? Why would you Why would you get this is not a business it's it's it's different. We're Carnival folk. Like I always say we're carnies. Absolutely I have a Barker that's for sure we are we are carnies magician party. But But Michael Mann I do by the way, how are you doing with your with your your your your cancer and how what's the prognosis? If you're only asking
Michael Daniel 51:33
If anybody here is watching this and actually interested I've been if I could talk about this it's cool. Um November 21. Last year I stopped taking chemo infusions so that almost killed me I started to do blood working and stuff and this little thing here my chest but I stopped because it almost killed me I was died in hospital and I decided to switch over to C CDs and THC and I swear to god on my soul since November I stopped that in January stopped the pill. So January of last year I've had no pharmaceuticals at all. I've had only oils and tinctures and my doctor is blown away my tumors are all shrinking I have my lungs are a little progression. kidneys are doing great. The colon thing they That's it? They don't they it's like it shrinks and grows and shrinks and grows. But overall man I feel better than I felt in a couple years. I'm just tired I get winded that's the worst sure I'm always trying to work up you know, but I felt better a day when I made get gone you know I got more energy I feel better you know I'm well like i said i'm thinner to I'm eating like salads and fresh fruit no meat no bread no no alcohol. You know what a monk who likes wheat?
Alex Ferrari 52:37
Fair Fair enough, man Well listen, I I I really wish you nothing but the best man and and I'm glad you're doing better and I hope that continues down that road. And I know the stress of this bs is probably not helped your condition in the least. But But I do really wholeheartedly hope that you do continue to do well and get out of this and and continue to live a very long and make a long healthy life and make a lot more films that hopefully will generate revenue. If you partner with the correct the correct distribution partner on it or self distributor, however you want to eventually go down that road. I'm going to ask you a few questions that I asked all of my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to get into the business today? I'm afraid to ask.
Michael Daniel 53:33
Um, be honest, Don't bullshit. They'll spend your time in bars, make a socialize. But don't get a producer card never produce shit. You can run your mouth all you want. But if you don't do the work, you're just running your mouth. I lived in Los Angeles for a long time I ran into 100 people a day that a produce card never produced jack shit accepted bus, take it home. If you're willing to suffer, you can do it. If you care if you're honest with yourself about your art, you can do it. If you're just a little shit. You're trying to get a lottery ticket don't don't waste your time. Because you're you're you're wasting everybody's time too if you love the work if you love creating create.
Alex Ferrari 54:06
Fair enough. Now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?
Michael Daniel 54:12
Some of the people that you love and trust the motion was a fucking over the worst.
Alex Ferrari 54:16
Oh, that's a rough one. That's
Michael Daniel 54:20
I've got a lot of great lessons too. But I'm just saying, you know, that's, that's it's a sad fact. You know, it includes people you bring into we're gonna film and includes people at home or whatever. You know, there's it's just important, and I don't mean that in a negative way in any way.
Alex Ferrari 54:37
I'm sorry, it is a fairly negative.
Michael Daniel 54:40
Okay, in the end the meaning behind it, though, is that people that care about you a lot will give you information that will instill fear in you and make you not go after anything correct. They do. That's the point about that. I don't I'm not insulting people love me because I love them too. But the point is that people that love you and trust you whatever. protect you. And they will stop you from being a filmmaker, my family my entire life. I felt my family to my mom never brought it. Up until five years ago, it was still a waste of time, all this stuff even though I was making money and getting stuff done to my mom, it's a huge waste of my life. And I had to fight unfortunately, everybody my whole life, and it's called it's the thing I love more than anything. It had I and I'm not saying we'll have things happen at the right times, you know. So it's that that's the whole point. So yeah, I'm not insulting love and trust. I'm just saying, the people who do love and trust you will protect you. And that can really hurt you. Sometimes, instead of letting you you know, you're a peacock, you have to let them fly.
Alex Ferrari 55:36
Let him fly picker guesses. I completely understand. I think every filmmaker who ever turned to their parents and said, Hey, I want to go to film school. I'm going to be a filmmaker. Nine out of 10 times that's generally not probably going to be a good conversation. I you know, my father, and my parents didn't understand it. But I was lucky enough that they supported me whether they believe that or not, they supported me. But it is it is a conference I understand completely where you're coming from. Now. I'm in three of your favorite films of all time, sir. Purple. Shallow Grave. In The Blues Brothers. Got what the heck of a combination, man. I like that. That's a
Michael Daniel 56:15
Promo makes me cry to this day. Yeah. When when Sealy? Wouldn't Danny Glover's walk across that silhouette in the back of those kids, dude, I started thinking about it. I almost want to cry because it's the ridic the level of redemption that has to come. And then the preacher's daughter her, you know, coming back church, Holy Christ. I mean, there's so much about that movie. There's so much beauty. You know, that's why I love it because it's true. It's about pain. It's about life. It's about all the shit we go through. You know? Um, so yeah, Blues Brothers obviously for main reason shallow. You know, that movie. You know, it's you and McGregor way back in the day.
Alex Ferrari 56:47
I remember. God 127 hours. Boy, Danny Boyle? Yeah, Danny Boyle. Danny Boyle. Yeah, love that. That was I was in I was in film school when that came out. So of course, every all of my classmates and I went to go see that with a roommate now. And then where can people find more videos? Because I hear you're going to be posting more videos, and and all the stuff that you're doing? Where can people find you, sir?
Michael Daniel 57:16
Well, if you go to my YouTube page, I guess we can maybe put a link in there. But it's I'll put Michael Yeah, okay, we'll do that. But my websites getgonethemovie.com you can check that out. You know, it's an Amazon it's on Google Play. It's on iTunes. It's all over the place. If you look for get gone, you'll find it. It's a you know, it's a low budget movie. It's it's got hard, it's got comedy, there's a lot of cool, there's no nudity, there's language, you know, it's fun. It's there's a lot of humor, because I'm a kind of a darkly humorous person. So some people don't know if they should laugh or not. But you should.
Alex Ferrari 57:45
Fair, fair enough man, Michael man. Again, I really thank you for your honesty, your bravery for coming out publicly with this story. And, and just trying to shine a light on this side of the business and, and just, hopefully this story, and this this episode, and everything that you're doing will continue to help filmmakers avoid a lot of the pitfalls that you fallen into. And I applaud your bravery for not only this, but what you're dealing with on a personal level, man. So thank you so much for doing what you do, brother, I appreciate it.
Michael Daniel 58:18
Thank you trying to help everybody out. It means a lot. We need it.
Alex Ferrari 58:22
I can't thank Michael enough for being on the show and sharing his journey, what he's going through personally and professionally, with the tribe. And Michael i know, you felt that you were alone before but you are no longer alone, my friend. This will get out to a lot of filmmakers. And I hope that it will help a lot of filmmakers and producers out in the world. Like I said before, guys, this needs to stop. And the only way it can stop is by people coming forward by people telling their story by people shining a light in the dark crevices of the nasty back alley crap that is done in the film distribution space. Like I said, there are many good film distributors, good sales agents, good reps out there trying to do business properly, trying to help filmmakers actually get paid actually put their movies out into the marketplace and receive an ROI receive a return on their blood, sweat and tears. I'm putting a movie together. But unfortunately, they are rare. And we as filmmakers have to be vigilant to not just hand over our hard work our hundreds of 1000s if not millions of dollars of investment to a predatory distributor or predatory sales agent. Every time I hear a story like this My heart breaks Because I am trying so hard to get this information out into the ether into the filmmaking community, I need your help. To get this word out, please share this podcast episode with as many filmmakers as you can. This information, this story needs to be heard. And I hope it galvanizes the community to stop being taken advantage of by predatory film distributors and sales agents, I will do my part and continue to shine a light on these parasites. But I am only one voice, I need the help of the tribe. I need you to get the word out on these podcasts on these episodes on these articles on these videos that I'm posting, we've done a lot of good and I know personally I know that I've helped and you have helped so many filmmakers not to be taken advantage of to avoid these ridiculous deals because of the information we are putting out there. But it is not enough. We as a community need to stand up and say enough is enough. And change has to be made. And we do that with one deal at a time. We send a message to predatory film distributors, that this is no longer allowed. And if you do screw us, we will talk we will shine a light on predatory deals of 25 years or in perpetuity deals that don't have marketing caps, or abusive terms. It is a responsibility of the filmmaker to be able to see these con men for who they are, and stop it before you sign on that dotted line. And the biggest weapon we have is education, to educate ourselves to get the information out. And the second weapon we have is to talk to discuss to share information with other filmmakers, other producers, even other low level distributors smaller mom and pop distributors that I know of personally who gets screwed over by bigger predatory distributors. It is a rampant systemic issue in our business and it needs to stop now if you want to read all about Michael Daniels journey and all the details look at the emails look at the the proof that he provided the documents and some other videos please I implore you to head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustlecom/413. And I've also included the audio from the YouTube video Michael posted that got me to call him in the first place. It is a very passionate video and I wanted to include it in this podcast so you guys could hear it firsthand.
Michael Daniel 1:03:07
I guys alright, so it's almost two in the morning. I got to get some stuff off my I'm so, so mad. And so just, you know, we have dreams as human beings and a lot of us work really hard to attain those dreams. Especially when no one is there. To believe in you and to help you ever you know, and you're struggling you're striving your entire life. And you do shit work for you suffer and you go without, and you give up things and you bust your ass and you've worked so goddamn hard. And you take shit from so many people who fucking need a punch in the face to accomplish something. And when you get it done, it's amazing. And you try to get out there in the world. And you have people completely Fuck you and he steal from you. And he would lie. Phoenix worldwide entertainment Michael Cohen, Robbie Roby Moffatt, mopitt whatever the fuck Emmanuel more Yeti, those people were involved in this, they made a deal for my film $100,000 minimum guaranteed to get that we have to get deliverables done and accepted which we did back in July yet they wouldn't pick the goddamn USB up from the FedEx and UK. So it sat there for two months and then how to get reshipped So anyway, they got the deliverables accepted the the contract via agents a deal or via IFTA. The contract they signed when they bought the film. They were supposed to within three days of acceptance pay us $200,000 they did not do it. They made excuses and excuses and Excuses, excuses, excuses and excuses. I sold my fucking truck. I still don't have a truck. I still have stage four. Cancer. I've dealt with this every single day since July of last year trying to get these motherfuckers from Phoenix worldwide entertainment to do the right thing. I get constant emails. Oh, my mom is sick. My dad's sick. I was about my grandma's here. This is it. Oh, the bank will transfer we sent it but it's not there. It's coming. It's Fuck you. Fuck you Phoenix worldwide. Fuck you Michael go. Fuck you, Robin. Fuck you Emmanuelle. If you guys were in front of me, oh my god, Holy fucking shit. I've tried so long to keep this pub private is I can. No, it'll help me. IFTA won't fucking help me. I'm so mad. I'm so hurt. I put my trust when I made this movie to start with. I put my love and my trust in every single person involved. And we made something we got something done. And I got it out there. So who all that and I had stage four cancer while that was going on while dealing with it while dealing with this now, while trying to get paid for a year. Over a year. They did a domestic deal with kleopatra Entertainment, which is marvelous. I'm so happy my movies out there and on Amazon and all these other places. The deals for $35,000. They gave us 22. Five. They didn't even tell us they did they do I found out about the deal later from someone else. I didn't even know they sold my movie. They didn't they were supposed to come to me and say hey, this is the deal. Here's the contract or do you accept this? And I say yes or no. And Had I known at that point that it was eight all English speaking territories, which is a bunch of horseshit that I never agreed to I would have never agreed to that. Long story short, Venus worldwide entertainment. Fuck you, man. Well, Michael Roby. You guys are the worst of the worst. You know what you did? This is just the beginning. I'm gonna do this every day. I will do everything I can to destroy your company. You broke my heart yet? I worked for a long time. I've been homeless for this. I've been without for this. I've gone hungry for this. I thought I followed my family for this. I stayed. I've lost relationships for this. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. God dammit, man. Where's the help for people like me? Because they do it other people. There are a lot of these fucking companies that do this kind of shit to people all the time. No one helps. What the fuck? Oh my god. look them up. Michael Cohen finish worldwide entertainment. He fuck Mel Gibson supposedly they say that didn't happen. It still. You can find that? I found that out later. They're con men. They're scum. Do avoid them. Oh my god. It's what the fuck? I can't even sleep today. I'm so mad. Sorry.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:06
Thank you for listening. Guys. Again, please share this episode with as many filmmakers as you can. As always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there. And I'll talk to you soon.
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